Thank you for showing this beautiful Sulu barung
. I believe this one is indeed a datu
quality piece. The extensive use of silver on the hilt, with braided silver rings (budbud
) overlying the silver punto
, is an indicator of a high quality piece intended for a wealthy individual. You are correct that the pommel is missing. The peg protruding from the end of the hilt would have been used to secure the pommel, possibly an elaborate junggayan
one made of precious wood or ivory.
Some years ago I had a barung
with a similar, silver-covered, hilt missing its pommel and I have seen at least three other examples also missing their pommels. It seems that their owners may have fallen on hard financial times and removed the valuable pommels for sale. Filipino friends have told me this happens occasionally.
I had my barung
restored to completeness by battara, who is also a Moderator on this Forum. He made a silver kakatua
pommel that really brought the barung
back to life and made its gin